Editorial & Opinion

The return of Gigi Reyes

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This is going to be fascinating.

 

Atty. Gigi Reyes, former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile who is included among those accused of plunder in connection with the misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund, came back last Saturday.

Reyes left last August when her name came up as one of those who were dealing directly with pork barrel operator Janet Napoles . She was reported to have gone to Macau, then to other countries.

In the resolution approved last April 1, the Ombudsman said they found probable cause for Enrile ,Reyes, Napoles, Ruby Tuason, Ronald John Lim, and Raymond de Asis to have committed plunder.

Plunder is punishable by lifetime imprisonment and forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth in favor of government.
The Ombudsman also found cause to indict Reyes together with Enrile and others for 15 counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

Corrupt practices under R.A. 3019 is punishable by imprisonment of not less than six years and one month to 15 years, perpetual disqualification from public office and forfeiture in favor of government of ill-gotten wealth.
Reyes was quoted to have said upon her arrival, “I’m ready to face the charges. I’ve always faced it.”

Disclosure: In the course of my work as journalist, I have dealt with Reyes a number of times. She was the one who facilitated by interview with Enrile for a magazine in 2006.

On a personal matter, she had favorably acted on my request for help for a journalist friend whose husband was confined at the Philippine General Hospital. She facilitated the allotment of Enrile’s PDAF for the cost of the treatment of my friend’s husband at the PGH.

In January 2013, at the height of the controversy of Enrile’s selective giving of bonuses to senators (Enrile was then the Senate President), Reyes called me up to explain their side. The four who were not given the P1.6 million each bonus were Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Alan Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, and Miriam Santiago.

My last talk with Reyes was during a birthday party of a common friend. She said that she wanted to resign as JPE’s chief of staff but the senator would not accept it.

The next thing I heard of her, she had left the country.

Now that she is back, everybody’s question is, “Will she turn state witness?”

Santiago, who considers Enrile a nemesis, urged Reyes to turn state witness. “She will be acquitted of a crime and at the same time clear her reputation, “she said adding that if JPE’s former chief of staff did that, “Enrile’s goose is cooked.”

While Reyes was away, she came out with an emotional statement bemoaning the media attacks on her. But, she said, “The worst blow has just been dealt upon me by no less than the camp of senator Juan Ponce Enrile- the man I served with full dedication, honesty and loyalty for 25 years.”

She said a certain Atty. Enrique dela Cruz has been telling people that she acted without the approval of Enrile on the PDAF transactions.

She said she could not believe it because “The last time I spoke to the Senator from abroad, he maintained that he will stand by the authority he issued to me and that all that I did was faithful and pursuant to his instructions. He even told me to be strong; that we will fight together to prove the accusations against us are false and fabricated.”

Reyes said she earned the ire of some people “by and large because and in defense of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.”

“If indeed these statements are sanctioned by or coming from my former boss, then nothing can be worse than this kind of travesty and betrayal, “she said.

A number of people were skeptical about the “falling out” of Enrile and Reyes. It could all be a legal strategy, some say.

Abangan.

 

 

 

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